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Out of the Ashes: Recovering The Lost Library of Herculaneum Previous Broadcasts

KQED 9: Sun, Mar 20, 2005 -- 10:00 PM

When the eruption of Mount Vesuvius buried the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum in 79CE, it not only froze an ancient civilization, it also preserved the only surviving library from antiquity. For 250 years, scholars have struggled to unroll and read a collection of 1800 carbonized and crumbling papyrus scrolls found in the wealthy Villa of the Papyri at Herculaneum. In the 21st century, promising new multispectral imaging technologies-enlisted by the National Library in Naples and Brigham Young University-reveal text that has not been seen for 2000 years. As archaeologists examine the partially excavated Villa of the Papyri, a new question emerges: Is there another library still buried at Herculaneum? This documentary traces the history of the Herculaneum papyri from the time of the eruption, to their discovery in 1752, to modern developments that impact their study.

Repeat Broadcasts:

  • KQED 9: Fri, Mar 25, 2005 -- 10:00 PM
  • KQED 9: Tue, Mar 22, 2005 -- 9:00 PM
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